The crowded counter at Coeur d’Alene’s century-old burger institution lost a longtime member this week.
Todd Hudson, a fourth-generation co-owner of Hudson’s Hamburgers on Sherman Avenue, died Thursday after having previously been diagnosed with stomach cancer, the family confirmed Friday. He was 53.
A memorial is in the works for Monday, said Dawson Williams, a stepson of Hudson’s who was working the counter at the no-frills restaurant Friday afternoon.
Along with his brother Steve, Todd Hudson inherited the business from their father, Roger, in the late 1990s.
Hudson’s has been in business near the banks of Lake Coeur d’Alene since 1907, when Todd Hudson’s great-grandfather, Harley, opened a lunch tent then called “The Missouri Lunch” at First Street and Sherman Avenue, selling burgers for a dime.
The restaurant is known for its stingy approach to side dishes and condiments – just cheese, ketchup, pickles, onions and special secret recipe hot sauces, and no French fries – as well as its seating for just 17 customers at a time.
The Hudson family was honored by the Idaho Legislature on the business’s centennial in 2007. Todd Hudson, who started working at the family restaurant when he was 10 years old, gave credit to those who crammed the counter in an interview with The Spokesman-Review at the time.
“It says a lot about our customers, because we wouldn’t have made it a year, let alone 100,” he said. Roger Hudson, Todd’s father, died a year later at age 71.
George Sayler, a former state lawmaker and Coeur d’Alene high school teacher, called Todd Hudson’s death “a real blow to the community.” Sayler knew Todd Hudson through his father and mother, who attended his church.
“Todd’s always been there like a rock, just doing his job,” Sayler said. On his most recent trip to the downtown restaurant about a week and a half ago with his granddaughter, Sayler said he watched Todd Hudson slice pickles and onions “like a machine.”
Williams, Todd Hudson’s stepson, said a memorial was being planned for as early as Monday, but did not have details.
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